Finally, finally, finally. I have found something that I can work with that actually resembles rice! And though it is quite nuttier and with a bite, it came out really really good! But I am getting ahead of myself.
It was by accident that I found this. I was in the Indian grocery aisle and I found this. And the only reason I was on this aisle looking at pulses was because the regular lentil that I buy is out of stock. That normal brown lentil is way cheaper than these, but hey, I will discover how to use them eventually. There was yellow lentils, white ones, and black ones.
I googled the different kinds and their uses, trying to decide what I can work. The black one is apparently the toughest one, seems like harder than a mung bean. i wasn’t too keen on that yet. There was nothing on yellow lentils (anybody has a clue about that, give me a heads up please!). But one blog about white lentils lead me to a risotto recipe. And it was in detail there how she found this as a really good substitute for rice in making a non-rice based risotto. And it felt like a jackpot. I tried barley for the whole grain, but lentil based risotto is really wow. So I bought the pack.
I soaked a little bit of it first. From experience, it was always easier to handle little volumes at a time because beans end up becoming bigger, too much at times. And what if I end up not liking it anyway? Yeah.
I put about 1/2 cup to soak overnight. It doubled in size at that time, and then I proceeded to make the seafood risotto that I remember having in Aria.
I cooked it the same way how I cooked the other risotto. And this one, it reminded me somewhat of a paella, but in a cheesy Italian way. And you know what? I do love it. I love how creamy cheesy it is. I love how the lentils held up their shape here too.
Seafood White Lentil Risotto Recipe
around 20 pieces of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup white lentils, soaked overnight
fish or vegetable broth, as needed, about 2 cups
4 tomatoes, blanched and seeded
4 tablespoons of tomato sauce, or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of grated cheese
Cook the shrimp in olive oil, then remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, toast the lentils a bit, then add in most of the broth or liquid and allow the lentils to cook. This type of lentil remains nutty and al dente even after 30 minutes of cooking, and I like it like that. Once the liquid has mostly dried up, add in the tomatoes and tomato sauce or paste. If still needed, add in more of the stock and continue cooking. Mix it in every now and then to cook evenly. Continue adding the stock whenever the liquid is almost dried up to continue cooking the lentils. Try the lentils. Add more water if needed in the same way. Once the lentils are almost done, add in the shrimp and mix it. And when it is almost dry, add the calamansi juice and then the cheese. Serve warm. It should be like wet rice, or really thick stew.